Class of 2021 Commencement Details

The Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2021
will be held on Saturday, May 22.

Please read all information below. • Complete the Commencement form below by March 29.

Our Plan for Commencement

We plan to focus on the core, College-organized elements of the Commencement ceremony which are also the things that students mentioned repeatedly as being important to them. We know we cannot create a typical celebration, but we want to replicate, within public health guidelines, as much of the typical experience as possible.

This means four elements, or stations, which will be repeated as many times as necessary and through which students and their guests will move. Attendance at Commencement ceremonies will be limited so that we remain in compliance with the State’s guidance about the size of outdoor gatherings. This means that there will be multiple Commencement ceremonies.

  1. Commencement Ceremony: planned to be held on Bicentennial Plaza. Names will be read and diploma covers will be presented. These ceremonies will be professionally live streamed.
  2. All Campus Reception: opportunity to say goodbye to buildings and people.
  3. Senior Week: we are in the process of planning celebratory activities in collaboration with class officers.
  4. Baccalaureate: faith-oriented ceremony for those students who are interested.

View Schedule


Being eligible to “walk” in a Commencement Ceremony means either that you have already graduated (since May 2020) or that your anticipated graduation date falls within the nine months following May 2021 (so, through January 2022).

If you have walked in a prior Commencement ceremony, you are not eligible to walk on May 22, 2021.


We anticipate that the first Commencement Ceremony will start at 9:00 am on Saturday, May 22.

Ceremonies will take place at two-hour and fifteen minute increments after that to allow for the ceremony and cleaning. Students will be able to sign up for specific times once we know how many students are planning to attend.


Each student will be permitted only two guests. All guests are expected to follow all public health and safety guidance in effect on the day of Commencement. Please see the linked “Community of Mutual Care” below.

We know this restriction will be a disappointment to many students; we heard that clearly from the Class of 2021 officers. We have reviewed several options for expanded participation and we are unable to make any of them work safely. The events will be livestreamed and available via the College’s YouTube channel. Please remember that these restrictions do not come from the College but from the Governor, and they are in place to protect the health and safety of our community. We wish we could include more people, but there is simply no safe way to do so.

Health and Safety

Allegheny College follows the guidance of the Allegheny College Health Agency, informed by the State of Pennsylvania, the Centers for Disease Control, and other applicable agencies. This means that participants in Commencement must wear face coverings at all times (including for photographs taken on-site), maintain at least six feet of distance from other guests, and follow all of the applicable public health and safety guidance in effect on the day of Commencement. State guidance is subject to change, and so this information may change by the time of the Commencement ceremony.

Cap & Gown

Caps & Gowns will be available May 1, 2021 at the bookstore. They are $45.00 for the cap, gown and tassel.

If you are not participating in the ceremony and prefer to have the cap and gown sent to a home address there will be an added shipping cost. Please contact the bookstore if you would like them shipped. The bookstore can be contacted at

Please note: there is no need to be measured for your cap and gown, they are ordered by height.

Sr. Day Celebrations

We are in the process of determining the best way to celebrate the Class of 2021. Those celebrations will be held on Friday, May 21st.

Next Step

Sign up for the Commencement Ceremony

Sign Up Now

Deadline: Monday, March 29

  • Please complete the form even if you do not intend to attend.
  • You will need to be logged into your account to complete this form.
  • Once you have completed the form, a confirmation will be sent to your email. If this confirmation does not arrive, then you did not successfully complete the form.

If you have questions, please email

The form linked above is designed to let us know who will be attending and to gather some basic information. More information will be sent to those students who plan to attend closer to the date of the event.


Due to the unusual timing of the Spring 2021 semester, we will NOT be able to hand out diplomas at Commencement. Diplomas will be mailed in June to the address we have on file for you. Please use Self-Service to ensure that your address is correct as we will not be individually confirming mailing addresses.


Due to the unusual timing of the Spring 2021 semester, Latin Honors will be announced on the basis of seven semesters of academic work and not eight (i.e., we cannot include Spring 2021 grades). However, once Spring 2021 grades are submitted, Latin Honors will be posted to the transcript and diploma as usual, based on eight semesters of work. This is standard practice for institutions that do not hand out live diplomas at their Commencement ceremonies.

Gator Pledge

All participants and guests will be expected to sign a shortened and Commencement-specific version of the Gator Pledge. This is a part of our Community of Mutual Care. All current students and employees are subject to their own versions of the Gator Pledge.


The Commencement ceremony will be held outside unless weather conditions are dire. This is to allow safe gatherings as per state guidance. If the weather truly does not allow for an outdoor ceremony, you should know that indoor events will be much smaller, per state guidance, and not all planned Commencement events will be able to take place.


Baccalaureate ceremonies at 9:15 and 10:30 will include musical performances by members of the Class of 2021, readings by graduates representing different religions, and greetings by the Chaplain and the Directors of Jewish and Muslim Life. Graduating students should plan to wear their caps and gowns and sit with their guests in Shafer Auditorium.

We appreciate the input given us by the Class of 2021 officers.
Their feedback was important as we shaped plans for this ceremony.